By GWAS studies on celiac disease, gene expression was studied at the level of the whole intestinal mucosa, composed by two different compartments: epithelium and lamina propria. Our aim is to analyse the gene-expression and DNA methylation of candidate genes in each of these compartments. Epithelium was separated from lamina propria in biopsies of CeD patients and CTRs using magnetic beads. Gene-expression was analysed by RT-PC; methylation analysis required bisulfite conversion and NGS. Reverse modulation of gene-expression and methylation in the same cellular compartment was observed for the IL21 and SH2B3 genes in CeD patients relative to CTRs. Bioinformatics analysis highlighted the regulatory elements in the genomic region of SH2B3 that altered methylation levels. The cREL and TNFAIP3 genes showed methylation patterns that were significantly different between CeD patients and CTRs. In CeD, the genes linked to inflammatory processes are up-regulated, whereas the genes involved in the cell adhesion/integrity of the intestinal barrier are down-regulated. These findings suggest a correlation between gene-expression and methylation profile for the IL21 and SH2B3 genes. We identified a “gene-expression phenotype” of CeD and showed that the abnormal response to dietary antigens in CeD might be related not to abnormalities of gene structure but to the regulation of molecular pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas